On October 9, 2012 Reentry Central posted an article on Drew House, the fulfillment of a dream by District Attorney Charles J. Hynes (see Drew House Offers One-of-a-Kind Alternative to Incarceration Program for Moms and Kids). Drew House is a building containing apartments where mothers with children can live and receive treatment and services instead of being incarcerated. Space at Drew House is limited. Realizing more could be done, DA Hynes, with the support of other organizations, expanded his dream to include more mothers and children.
The following press release from the Kings County District Attorney’s office announces an innovative new program for criminal justice-involved women with children.
Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes and The Women’s Prison Association Announce A Home-Based Alternative To Incarceration Program For Women
D.A. HYNES WILL TRAIN STAFF TO RECOGNIZE THE GENDER-SPECIFIC NEEDS OF WOMEN IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
Brooklyn, May 8, 2013 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes and the Women’s Prison Association, with the support of multiple women’s advocacy and legal groups announce JusticeHome, a home-based alternative to incarceration, for women, particularly those with children.
The program has funding for 45 participants. Eligible participants must be facing a minimum of six-months in prison as a result of felony charges. They will be able to serve their sentences in their home, retain custody and care of their children, and receive intensive treatment and supervision.
D.A. Hynes will train his staff to assess and meet the specific needs of women offenders who would benefit from ATI programs like JusticeHome and Drew House, a program spearheaded by D.A. Hynes which opened its doors in 2008, to keep families intact, avoid “warehousing” women in prison and reduce recidivism among women.
“Today's announcement of our Justice Home Program is very exciting because 45 Mothers will be spared jail and their children will avoid the trauma associated with watching helplessly as their mothers are carted off to jail,” said D.A. Hynes.
The participants will be screened for suitability. The JusticeHome staff will work with the D.A.’s staff to assess each woman on a case-by-case basis. The D.A.’s office will provide Continuing Legal Education programs for Assistant District Attorneys, who will be trained to make the initial selection and referral to the screeners. The screening techniques will also be added to the permanent training curriculum for new incoming Assistant District Attorneys.
Georgia Lerner, the Director of the WPA said, “Our experience demonstrates that women and families can make great positive change when they are supported in their own homes and communities. WPA is thrilled that our JusticeHome program will be working with women to identify and address their criminal risks without the disruption that everyone in their lives experiences when they are sent to prison. Drawing upon their own strengths and community resources, women and families can become stronger and function better while a woman takes responsibility for her crime. We think that real life is the best classroom, and here in Brooklyn, women have a great champion in D.A. Hynes, rooting for their success.”
R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy congratulated D.A. Hynes and WPA on behalf of the Obama Administration. “The JusticeHome initiative recognized the need for evidence-based, gender-responsive practices for all women involved in the criminal-justice system—keeping families together, reducing recidivism, and interrupting the generational cycles of incarceration.”
"Many women land in the criminal justice system as a direct consequence of the inequalities and dangers that women disproportionately face, including poverty and sexual and domestic abuse." said Julie Kay, Senior Strategist for Policy and Advocacy, Ms. Foundation. "Programs that provide quality alternatives to incarceration provide society with a cost-efficient and more humane approach, enabling women to continue their family and care giving responsibilities to the benefit of all."
“Under the leadership of Honorable Charles J. Hynes the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office has had the courage and vision to go beyond prosecution and to establish innovative alternative to incarceration programs tailored to prevention, rehabilitation, and public safety,” said Dr. Mary Byrne, a Professor of Health Sciences at Columbia University School of Nursing and Medical College. Dr. Byrne’s 2011 independent study of Drew House concluded the successful program should be used as a model for other jurisdictions.
“I am heartened by District Attorney Charles Hynes’ announcement to provide unprecedented support for innovative programs that recognize the value of keeping families intact and that meet their unique needs,” said Ana Oliveira, President of the New York Women’s Foundation. “This is at the heart of the work of The New York Women’s Foundation and we are gratified to know that our work, in tandem with the DA’s office, will help transform the lives of women and families in NYC.”
Contact: Mia Goldberg (718) 250-2300